"Very innovative and fun event, without the pretenses of most race productions in New England. Very backwoods, informal, and trail friendly management style. Superb post race raffle."
"Winter Wild was a crazy mix of "joie -de-vivre" + "what-in-the-world-have-I-gotten-myself-into" + "carpe diem" + a superb sense of "fait accompli" at the end!! My 16-year-old daughter, Liesel, inspired me to do this series of events with her. I never thought I'd be at the top of these ski mountains AT sunrise IN the winter and ON foot both up and down! It was exhilarating, exhausting, beautiful, and great fun with the super people who put on the event and those of us who participated. I loved the range of people in the events: on skis, towing the snowboard, slogging up with skis on, etc. And I love the range of school children to older adults with everyone out there together. I recommend this to everyone, whether you are competing for time or just aiming for completion. We looked forward to these Saturdays and doing Winter Wild again next year!"
"This was my first year participating in winter wild. The first time I dragged myself out of bed to go to the Whaleback race I thought, "what am I getting myself into?". As I heard the count down to start the race and looked around me at all the other participants geared up, the adrenalin began to kick in. I pushed myself up the slope with the loud breathing surrounding me, accompanied by the crunching noise of shoes hitting the snow, and I realized what a unique event this was. How many other opportunities do you get to race daylight up a mountain, catch a quick glimpse of her glory at the top, then let the exhiliary carry you down the slope to the finish line. How often do you get to say you conquered a mountain and still have a whole day before you?What a way to start your day. Winter Wild is a unique event because it is the perfect combination of drive,competition,fun, and love of the outdoors."
"I've run in all but one of the Winter Wils series the last two years, and it's been a great experience. It gave me the motivation to train during the winter times, allowed me to get outdoors with friends and provided terrific locations to get a great workout - all while enjoying some great sunrises on top of a few New Hampshire mountains."
"I have run my entire life, yet only in the last 2 years have I taken up to running races, and the winter wild series looked like a good way to get motivated to train during the cold winter months. Having run three races in the series, I was extremely impressed with the feeling of being part of a community at each race. This is something I have never seen at a traditional 5K event in the summer. I also must admit that running in the series has resulted in improvements to my 5K times, allowing me to recently PR before the spring race season has even started."
"I had a blast at WW this year! My friends tried to convince me to race WW last year, but I don't much like getting out of bed early. Because snowshoe race season was a wash, & Pat's Peak is close to home I decided to give WW a try. After Pat's, I did the rest of the series and plan to race them all next year.
When you try to describe a WW race to "normal" people, it is difficult not to seem crazy. "You see, you get up at 4:00 AM, and you run up a ski mountain, then you run back down...no wait, it's way more fun than it sounds. You can ski up and down, or snowshoe up & down, or hike up & board down..."
The raffles were great, the people are lots of fun. It is inspiring to see the school age kids doing something fitness related with their time in the NH outdoors around athletic, positive role models.
I race triathlon, running and mountain bike races, and I have to say WW is the most fun you can have under your own power!"
A Wild Ride
By: Jamie Heide
My first day was rough. As a college student, waking up before the sun rises seems like insanity. Once I pulled myself out of bed and got all of my gear together for the early morning adventure I was about to embark on, I felt a little nervous, a little sick, but most of all, excited. I got to my car, which was yelling at me for waking her up so early, and drove straight to Dunkin Donuts. After I got my breakfast and a coffee, my spirit lifted a bit, and the excitement really took over. I pulled into Whaleback Mountain full of uncertainty about what I would be doing and where I should be going, but I wandered around until I found a familiar face and got to work. Chad (Denning) hadn’t told me much of what to expect so I was going in mostly on assumptions. The place seemed pretty dead at first, but then once I got out back, everything changed. There were people everywhere geared up in their spandex pants and their microspikes, getting ready to do something I had never even considered, running up the mountain. Some people had snowshoes, some with skis or snowboards of all different types, others just on foot, preparing to conquer the beast looming over us in the dark of early morning.
The most incredible sight of all of this was the amount of young children that were participating. I saw a bunch of little kids running around the base, and I expected them to be there with their parents, waiting at the bottom for the race to finish so they could back to bed. I quickly discovered that all of those children were there to race. Thanks to “Let’s Move”, an initiative started by the First Lady to try to solve childhood obesity, the school district with the most participants won a prize of $2,000, donated by Lake Sunapee Bank. Jason Massa of Acidotic Racing, a group that frequented Winter Wild this year, thought very highly of this initiative. He said, ”It is inspiring to see the school age kids doing something fitness related with their time in the NH outdoors around athletic, positive role models”. Every race, the children seemed to be multiplying as more and more school kids came out to race. By the end of the series, 104 total school kids as young as 6 years old came out to participate from all different school districts. The school district with the most participation was Bow, which will be receiving the $2,000 prize.
After reading some of the feedback we got from a few participants, the general feeling is that once you start, you can’t stop. Multiple people said that they had never done a Winter Wild race before this year, and were skeptical due to the early start and intimidating courses. However, once they did the first one they had to do the rest. Justin Paré, one of this years racers had this to say about it: “Having run three races in the series, I was extremely impressed with the feeling of being part of a community at each race”. That “community” feeling is something I can say is totally accurate. I had never met any of these people before, but they welcomed me in with open arms. As long as you have a smile on your face, you are immediately accepted, and with the abundance of smiles surrounding you, it is hard to not join in. I have always believed that smiles are contagious, and after this series, I can proudly confirm that belief.
This series is unlike anything I have ever experienced in my 22 years on this planet, and that is a feeling I share with many other people. Jason Massa called it “the most fun you can have under your own power”. Justin Paré said it helped to improve his 5K times, and even prepared him to PR before the spring race season. I encourage everybody to try this series, because it just may change your life. It really is an unbelievable experience, even without running in the race. At the very least, you’ll have some fun, win some free stuff, and come home with a positive attitude and a huge smile.
By the numbers: Total number of participants in all five races combined: 770
Unique participants: 398
Number who participated in at least three races: 104
Total Let's Move students: 104
Youngest participant: 6
Oldest participant: 65
New England states represented: all 6
Participants from Colorado, Georgia, and Texas: 1 each
Coldest race: 24 degrees (at Whaleback)
Warmest race: 37 degrees (at Bretton Woods)
$100 gift certificates for Merrell shoes donated by Hubert's: 10
Pairs of Darn Tough socks given away: 70
Boxes of animal crackers won in the raffle: 24
Cartons of Pete and Gerry's eggs given away: 30
Omelets made by the winners of those eggs: 118 (unofficial tally)
And finally, the total miles run, skied, snowshoed, snowboarded, and otherwise traveled over the course of all five races by all participants: approximately 2,500!!!